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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Nothing beats experience of
Western movie

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
In January 2009 the Trew Ranch contracted to provide the location for a Western movie to be filmed on the premises.

It was a new experience for this old man.

In 1980 we began improving a site in a deep canyon here on the ranch for use in hosting an annual family reunion on Labor Day each year.

These reunions on the Trew side of the family date back to Depression and Dust Bowl days in the dirty thirties.

First came a road down into the canyon, a long tin shade for cooking and meal service. Of course toilets had to be included along with tables and fireplace. A two-story cabin was built later when we acquired the telephone poles from a pipeline right-of-way that changed over to satellite controls for their switching valves.

As our sons also shared our respect for history, we built along the lines of an old Western town in the period 1870-1900.

Not only was the work fun, the result was satisfying and unusual in appearance but rustic as in "the old West." Amazingly, the thought of using the site as a movie location was never discussed.

The years passed, things were added and the improvements aged. When we were approached in December 2008 to use the site for a movie location, the place was weathered and ready.

The producers took one look and refined the screenplay to fit the location. The rest was fun and easy.

The making of a traditional movie has changed drastically.

Modern digital cameras controlled by computers and editing technology have changed the ways movies are filmed.

Crime and mayhem in countries such as Mexico have made many traditional movie locations too dangerous. Cost of production on American sites such as Old Tucson and Monument Valley have climbed to impossible heights.

Old West movie reruns have been "worn out" over the years to where viewers are complaining.

The violent, explosive, car wreck, machine-gun shootouts of modern films are no longer entertaining to older people so a market opened up for a good Western movie.

The proliferation of commercials has now limited the average two-hour TV movie to 88 minutes and a 30-minute documentary to 24 minutes of actual film time.

Technology has provided home computers and software so anyone with a little experience can edit and splice hours of film into a presentable form.

Merely enter the finished product into a film festival where critics and movie buyers can see the results and a film either dies or survives instantly at a much lower cost than the old traditional movie.

Whatever the outcome of our eventual movie, we had fun and learned a lot. We know now that movies are 90 percent illusion and almost anything is possible.

Modern movies are mostly acting naturally and a scene is usually only 10 feet wide and 6 feet deep.

Best of all, it paid better than the current stock market and is keeping me out of the rest home and going strong.

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" April 20, 2009 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.
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